Logo: University of Southern California

Theodore Tsotsis

Robert E. Vivian Professor

 

General Research Interests

  • Reaction Engineering, Membrane Separation Processes
     
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Specific Research Projects
  • Transport and Reaction in Membranes and Catalysts
  • High Temperature Reactions
  • Environmental Reaction Engineering  
 

Transport and Reaction in Membranes and Catalysts

We are interested in the study of transport and reaction phenomena in membranes, adsorbents, and catalysts. Membranes are of interest because of their application in reactive separation applications (e.g., membrane reactors), but also because they serve as model systems for the study of such phenomena in other porous systems like adsorbents and catalysts.  The studies are both of experimental and theoretical character. Our experiments involve carbon molecular sieve, SiC, and layered-double-hydroxide type materials. To model the transport phenomena, we use non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) techniques. The use of reactive separations, involving high temperature membranes, in power generation applications is also currently under investigation.

High-Temperature Reactions

We are interested in power generation applications involving renewable fuels like landfill gas and biodiesel. We study the combustion characteristics of these fuels, and the environmental implications of their use in power generation. The experiments are carried out in an experimental set-up, which allows us to measure the fluid mechanics, temperature, and composition of the reactive flows. Experiments are coupled to complete numerical simulations of 2-D and 3-D reactive flows involving full chemistry.

Environmental Reaction Engineering

We are interested in the remediation of landfill sites. Our work involves the detailed modeling of landfill gas and leachate generation and transport in these sites.  We also study novel means for getting rid of the various heteroatom-containing VOC found in landfill gas and biogas.

In addition, we are interested in the development and use of novel adsorbents and membranes for the elimination of toxic pollutants from drinking water and industrial wastewaters.  Our current interests in this area involve the treatment of effluents associated with the production of shale-gas and other unconventional resources. .


Funding

Our research studies are supported by grants from DOE, DTRA, NSF, and a number of Industrial Companies.

Recent Publications (2009 - present)



Barghi, S., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Storage Capacity of Silicon-Carbide Nanotubes over their Carbon Counterparts“, In Press, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy.

Motamedhashemi, M.M.Y., Monji, M., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis, T.T., “A Hybrid Catalytic Membrane Reactor for Destruction of a Chemical Warfare Simulant,” J. Membrane Sci., 473, 1, 2015.

Naserifar, S., Tsotsis, T.T., Goddard III, W.A., Sahimi M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Towards a Process-Based Molecular Model of SiC Membranes. III. Prediction of Transport and Separation of Binary Gaseous Mixtures Based on the Atomistic Reactive Force Field,” J. Membrane Sci., 473, 85, 2015.

Deng, W., Yu, X., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Highly Permeable Silicon Carbide Support Tubes for the Preparation of Nanoporous Inorganic Membranes,” J. Membrane Sci., 451, 192, 2014.

Barghi, S., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Weak and Strong Adsorption and Hysteresis Phenomena during Hydrogen Storage in Carbon Nanotubes,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 39, 1390, 2014.   

Wang, Y.L., Le, D.J., Westbrook, C.K., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis T.T., “Oxidation of Small Alkyl Esters in Flames,” Combust. Flame, 161, 810, 2014.

Roychaudhuri, B., Xu, J., Tsotsis, T.T., and Jessen, K., “Forced and Spontaneous Imbibition Experiments for Quantifying Surfactant Efficiency in Tight Shales,” SPE 168500 MS, SPE Western North American and Rocky Mountain Joint Regional Meeting, Denver, CO, April 16-18, 2014.

Li., H., Qin, J., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Model-Based Production Optimization of a Landfill Gas System,” AIChE J., 60, 2063, 2014.

Yu, J., Tan, M., Liu, P.K.T., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Hydrogen Production from Biomass-Derived Syngas Using a Catalytic Membrane Reactor Based Process,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 53, 819, 2014.

Yan, X., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Fabrication of Nanoporous Silicon Oxycarbide Materials using Layer Double Hydroxide as a Sacrificial Template”, Microporous & Mesoporous Materials, 190, 267, 2014. 

Jalali, A., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis, T.T., “A Study of Silane Decomposition during the Combustion of Renewable Natural Gas,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 53, 12993, 2014.

Tsotsis, T.T., Egolfopoulos, F.N., Nair, N., Prosser, R., Ren, J.Y., Liu, P., Divsalar, A., Motamedhashemi, M., Monji, M., “Catalytic Removal of Gas-Phase Contaminants”, US20140271419 A1, Sept. 18th, 2014.

Coppens, M.O., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Editorial Overview: Reaction and Catalysis Engineering –a Multi-scale Integrated Approach,” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 5, 1, 2014.

Parsley, D., Ciora, R.J., Flowers, D.L., Laukaitaus, J., Chen, A, Liu, P.K.T., Yu, J., Sahimi, M., Bonsu, A., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Field Evaluation of Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes for Separation and Purification of Hydrogen from Coal- and Biomass-Derived Syngas,” J. Membrane Sci., 450, 81, 2014.

Roychaudhuri, B., Tsotsis, T.T., and Jessen, K., “An Experimental Investigation of Spontaneous Imbibition in Gas Shales,” J. Petr. Sci. Eng., 11, 87, 2013. 

Jalali, A., Motamedhashemi, M.M.Y., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis, T.T., “A Fundamental Study of Siloxane Decomposition during Combustion of Simulated Renewable Natural Gas,” Comb. Sci. Technol., 185, 1, 2013.

Lee, H. C., Monji, M., Parsley, D., Sahimi, M., Liu, P., Egolfopoulos, F., and Tsotsis, T., “Use of Steam Activation as a Post-Treatment Technique in the Preparation of Carbon Molecular-Sieve Membranes,” Ind. Eng. Chem., Res., 53, 1122, 2013.

Naserifar, S., L. Liu, L., Goddard III, W.A., Tsotsis, T.T, and Sahimi M., “Towards a Process-Based Molecular Model of SiC Membranes. I. Development of a Reactive Force Field”, J. Phys. Chem. C, 117, 3308, 2013.

Naserifar, S., L. Liu, L., Goddard III, W.A., Tsotsis, T.T, and Sahimi M., “Towards a Process-Based Molecular Model of SiC Membranes. II. Reactive Dynamics Simulation of the Pyrolysis of a Polymer Precursor to Form Amorphous SiC”, J. Phys. Chem. C, 117, 3320, 2013.

Coppens, M.O., and Tsotsis, T.T., “New Frontiers in Reaction and Catalysis Engineering,” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 2, 302, 2013.

Soltani, S., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis T.T., “Catalytic Membrane Reactors: A Brief Overview”, Encyclopedia of Membrane Science and Technology, Eric. M.V. Hoek and Volodymyr V. Talabar Editors, John Wiley & Sons, 2013. 

Nair, N., Vas, A., Zhu, T., Gutierrez, J., Chen, J., Egolfopoulos, F., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Effects of Siloxanes Contained in Natural Gas on the Operation of a Residential Furnace,” Ind. Eng. Chem., Res., 52, 6253, 2013.

Elyassi, B., Deng, W., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “On the Use of Porous and Non-porous Fillers in the Fabrication of Silicon Carbide Membranes,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 52, 10269, 2013. 

Nia, S.F., Dasani, D., Tsotsis, T. and Jessen, K. “ Pore-Scale Characterization of Oil-Rich Monterey Shale: A Preliminary Study.” Paper URTeC 1582139, Proceedings of the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC 2013), Denver, Colorado, August 12-14, 2013.

Abdollahi, M., Yu, J., Liu, P.K.T., Ciora, R., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Ultra Pure Hydrogen Production from Reformate Mixtures using a Palladium Membrane Reactor System,” J. Membrane Sci., 390-391, 32, 2012.

Nair, N., Zhang, X., Gutierrez, J., Chen, J., Egolfopoulos, F., and Tsotsis, T., “On the Impact of Siloxane Impurities on the Performance of an Engine Operating on Renewable Natural Gas,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 51, 15786, 2012. 

Feng, Q., Jalali, A., Fincham, A.M., Wang, Y. L., Tsotsis, T.T., and Egolfopoulos, F. N., “Soot Formation in Flames of Model Biodiesel Fuels,” Combust. Flame, 159, 1876, 2012.

Li., H., Qin, J., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Computer Simulation of Gas Generation and Transport in Landfills.  VI. Dynamic Updating of the Model Using the Ensemble Kalman Filter,” Chem. Eng. Sci.74, 69, 2012.

Liu, P.K.T., Sahimi, M., Tsotsis, T.T., “Process Intensification in Hydrogen Production via Membrane-Based Reactive Separations,” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 1, 342, 2012.

Tsotsis, T.T., “Reaction Engineering and Catalysis, Editorial Overview,” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering. 1, 269, 2012.

Feng, Q., Tsotsis, T.T., and Egolfopoulos, F. N., “A Fundamental Study of NOx Emissions of Model Biodiesel Fuels,”  Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 51, 9719, 2012.

Tsotsis, T.T., Sahimi, M., Fayyaz-Najafi, B., Harale, A., Park, B.G., Liu, P.K.T., “Hybrid Adsorptive Membrane Reactor,” U.S. Patent 7,897,122, March 1, 2011.

Naik, C.V., Puduppakkam, K. V., Modak, A., Meeks, E., Wang, Y.L., Feng, Q., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Detailed Chemical Kinetic Mechanism for Surrogates of Alternative Jet Fuels,” Combust. Flame. 156, 434, 2011. 

Wang, Y.L., Veloo, P.S., Egolfopoulos, F.N., Tsotsis, T.T., “A Comparative Study on the Extinction Characteristics of Non-Premixed Dimethyl Ether and Ethanol Flames,” Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, 33, 1003, 2011. 

Wang, Y.L., Feng, Q., Egolfopoulos, F.N., Tsotsis, T.T., “Studies of C4 and C10 Methyl-Ester Flames,” Combust. Flame, 158, 1507, 2011.

Dadwhal, M., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Adsorption Isotherms of Arsenic on Conditioned Layered Double Hydroxides in the Presence of Various Competing Ions,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 50, 2220, 2011.

Wang, Y.L., Westbrook, C.K., Tsotsis, T.T., and Egolfopoulos, F.N, “Oxidation of Small Methyl and Ethyl Esters in Flames,” Proceedings of the 7th US National Meeting of the Combustion Institute, Atlanta, Georgia, March 20-23, 2011.  

Kim, T.W., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Hybrid Hydrotalcite-sulfonated Polyetheretherketone (SPEEK) Cation-exchange Membranes Prepared by in situ Sulfonation,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 50, 3880, 2011.

Li, H., Sanchez, R., Kavak, H.I., Qin, S.J., Webster, I.A., Tsotsis, T.T., Sahimi, M. “Computer Simulation of Gas Generation and Transport in Landfills. V:  Use of Artificial Neural Networks for Short-term Forecasting,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 66, 2646, 2011.

Liu, Z., Jessen, K., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Optimization of In-Situ Combustion Processes: A Parameter Space Study Towards Reducing the CO2 Emissions,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 66, 2723, 2011.

Abdollahi, M., Yu, J., Hwang, H.T., Liu, P.K.T., Ciora, R., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Membrane Reactor-Based Hydrogen Production Process from Biomass,” Abstracts ACS, 241, 120-PETR, 2011.  

Motamedhashemi, M.M.Y., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Application of a Flow-Through Catalytic Membrane Reactor (FTCMR) for the Destruction of a Chemical Warfare Simulant,” J. Membrane Sci., 376, 119, 2011.

Roychaudhuri, B., Tsotsis, T.T., and Jessen, K., “An Experimental Investigation of Spontaneous Imbibition of Gas Shales,” SPE Paper 147652-PP, 2011. 

Mourhatch, R., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Network Model for the Evolution of the Pore Structure of Silicon-Carbide Membranes during their Fabrication,” J. Membrane Sci., 356, 138, 2010.

Abdollahi, M., Yu, J., Liu, P.K.T., Ciora, R., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Hydrogen Production from Coal-Derived Syngas Using a Catalytic Membrane Reactor Based Process,” J. Membrane Sci., 363, 160, 2010.

Abdollahi, M., Yu, J., Liu, P.K.T., Ciora, R., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Process Intensification in Hydrogen Production from Syngas,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 49, 10986, 2010.

Feng, Q., Wang, Y. L., Egolfopoulos, F.N., and Tsotsis, T.T., “A Fundamental Study of the Oxidation Characteristics and Pollutant Emissions of Model Biodiesel Fuels,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 49, 10392, 2010.

Mourhatch, R., Tsotsis, T.T., and Sahimi, M., “Determination of the True Pore Size Distribution by Flow Permporometry Experiments: An Invasion Percolation Model,” J. Membrane Sci., 367, 55, 2010.

Dadwhal, M., Ostwal, M., Liu P.K.T., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Adsorption of Arsenic on Conditioned Layered Double Hydroxides (LDH). Flow Experiments and Modeling,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48, 2076, 2009.

Rajabbeigi, N, Elyassi, B., Tsotsis, T.T., Sahimi, M., “Molecular Pore-network Model for Nanoporous Materials. I: Application to Adsorption in Silicon-carbide Membranes,” J. Membrane Sci., 335, 5, 2009.

Kim, T., Sahimi, M. and Tsotsis, T.T., “The Preparation and Characterization of Hydrotalcite Micromembranes,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 64, 1585, 2009.

Elyassi, B., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Inorganic Membranes,” Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, Sunggyu (K.B.) Lee, Editor, 1:1, 1-16, 2009. 

Kim, T., Sahimi, M. and Tsotsis, T.T., ‘The Preparation and Characterization of Hydrotalcite Thin Films,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48, 5794, 2009.

Liu, Z., Jessen, K., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Optimization of In-situ Combustion Processes: Reduction of CO2 Emissions - A Preliminary Study,” SPE Paper 126687, 2009.

Kim, T.W., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T. “Hydrotalcite-Sulfonated Polyetheretherketone (SPEEK) Cation-Exchange Membranes,”  Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48, 9504, 2009.

Wang, Y. L.., Feng, Q., Kellogg, K., Egolfopoulos, F.N.,  and Tsotsis, T.T.  “Oxidation and Pollutant Emissions of Methyl-Esters in Flames,” paper 22H4, Proceedings, 6th US Combustion Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 19-20, 2009.

Harale, A., Hwang, H., Liu, P.K.T., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., Design Aspects  of a Hybrid Adsorbent-Membrane Reactor (HAMR) System for Hydrogen Production,”  Chem. Eng. Sci., 65, 427, 2009.

Elyassi, B., Sahimi, M., and Tsotsis, T.T., “Fabrication of Amorphous Silicon-Carbide Nanofibers by a Template Technique,” Mat. Chem. Phys.,118, 259, 2009.

Sanchez, R., Tsotsis, T.T., Sahimi, M. “Computer Simulation of Gas Generation and Transport in Landfills. IV:  Modeling of Two-Phase Flow,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 65, 1212, 2009.

Rajabbeigi, N, Elyassi, B., Tsotsis, T.T., Sahimi, M., “Molecular Pore-network Model for Nanoporous Materials. II: Application to Transport and Separation of Gaseous Mixtures in Silicon-Carbide Membranes,”   J. Membrane Sci., 345, 323, 2009.

Ostwal, M.M., Sahimi, M., Tsotsis, T.T., “Water Harvesting Using a Conductive Polymer. A Study by Molecular Dynamics Simulation,” Phys. Rev. E., 79, 061801, 2009.

Wang, Y.L., Veloo, P., Egolfopoulos, F.N., Tsotsis, T.T., “A Comparative Study on the Extinction Characteristics of Non-Premixed Dimethyl Ether and Ethanol Flames,” paper 09F-43, 2009 Fall Meeting of the Western States Section of the Combustion Institute, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA, October 26-27, 2009.